What Should I Have in My Car Emergency Kit?

The roadways are a dangerous place. Even if you’re completely insured, have roadside assistance, and are the safest driver in the word, unexpected circumstances may take you by surprise. To stay safe while travelling, outfit your car with an emergency kit containing the following items.

Emergency Response

You never know when your car may break down or you witness a collision on the road. Landslides, fallen trees, and other obstructions can also leave you stranded for hours. Though you hopefully never experience such a situation, be prepared with the following tools:

  • Tool kit. This should include pliers, screwdrivers, and other car maintenance basics.
  • Flares and triangle reflectors. If your vehicle is disabled or you need to respond to an accident, turn on your flashers and pull over to the side of the road. Flares and reflectors can be used to warn other cars of a hazard or signal for help.
  • Tools to change a tire. A blowout is never convenient, but if you’re travelling in the middle of nowhere or an unknown area, it can be remarkably dangerous. Prepare ahead with the tools you’ll need for a quick change – including a spare tire.

Food, Water, and Personal Care

The above items will get you through temporary problems, but there are plenty of other emergencies that will present a more serious, long-term threat. In those situations, you will need food, water, and sanitation items until help arrives.

  • Bottled water. You may also carry a filter that enables you to safely process and drink water from a lake or other nearby source.
  • High-energy, low-prep food. Food bars, trail mix, and dried fruit can sustain you on the side of the road. Dehydrated meals are another good option.
  • Sanitary items. Toilet paper, feminine products, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes should be included in your kit.
  • Medications. Check that insulin, albuterol, epinephrine, and other essential medications are in your car at all times.
  • Sunblock. This is another vital component of an emergency kit; aloe-vera gel may also come in handy.

Survival Items

Finally, your roadside gear should include the following survival items. If you’re a camper or outdoors person, you’re probably familiar with this equipment:

  • Duct tape
  • Pocketknife
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Emergency radio
  • Rain gear
  • Emergency space blankets
  • Fleece blankets
  • Paracord
  • Tarp
  • Work gloves
  • Maps (plan ahead for whatever route you’re taking)
  • First-aid kit
  • Walking shoes
  • Whistle
  • Pepper spray
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Battery-powered fan
  • Jumper cables
  • Battery-powered jumper

Getting these items together is a good start, but make sure you know how to use them. For example, a flare won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it during an accident. Research the items carefully after you store them in the car, and make sure everyone travelling with you also knows how to access and use this kit.

Responding to Breakdowns, Weather Emergencies, and Collisions

Any roadway emergency is a frightening experience. If you’re stranded, start by moving your vehicle off the road. Raise your hood to indicate trouble if there’s daylight, or use your reflectors and flares at night. If you’re responding to a collision or another accident involving a personal injury, first check that everyone is as safe as possible. Administer care if this can be done securely, and record the event with videos and photos if feasible.

Though liability is probably the last thing on your mind in the heat of the moment, you may find yourself stranded or hurt due to another party’s negligence. Contact a compassionate West Virginia car accident lawyer if you have suffered an injury at someone else’s hand. These professionals will help you gather evidence, identify any manufacturer issues or similar problems, and recover the damages you may be owed following an accident. For more information, contact the legal team at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC.